Jan 8. Marked the first of three Avon Lake School Board Meetings that will determine, if the district should place a new levy on the May ballot, and if so, for how much.
At the meeting, the board laid out cuts that will happen regardless of whether the ask voters to approve a new levy.
Board president Charles Froehlich said there will be additional meetings on Jan 16 and 29 to continue discussions on the resolutions, which include costs-savings items.
The meetings will be held at 7 p.m. in the Avon Lake High School Media Room.
Froehlich said a health care committee comprised of administrators and teachers have proposed changes, including joining a consortium, that will net a savings of $700,000 per year, starting this month.
The district is also considering increasing pay-to-participate fees.
Other proposed savings include:
- Cutting some capital expenditures, such as tables, chairs by $250,000 for the upcoming year.
- Delaying the purchase of new textbooks to meet new state standards is being delayed to at least next year, maybe the year after for a savings of $850,000
- The ALSD teaching staff voted last week to a two-year wage step freeze (0 percent wage increase) that will result in a savings of $893,000 over the next two years.
- A reduction in field trips will save $15,000.
- Combining buses for JV and varsity, which previously sent two buses for away will save $20,000.
- Removing some building maintenance items will save $96,000
- Closing the weight room in the mornings and evenings will save $16,000
- The district will not renew “Study Island,” an online resource for students in grades K-8, saving the district $6,000.
- Other savings are expected from electrical savings from cleaning all buildings at night as well as exploring alternate options for electrical, gas and water utilities.
“I have to give kudos to the staff for making such commitments,” Scott said, noting employees will be going for years without raises.
The district is also expecting to “RIF” (reduction in force) 10 full-time employees next year.
Last year, the districts workforce was reduced by 13, by not replacing employees who left the district.
“We’ve been not replacing people,” Scott said. “And the teachers have stepped up."
Scott noted most changes would affect the middle and high schools, since elementary school staffing levels were at the breaking point.
The district is trying to make adjustments with incomplete information.
“This (is based ) that the state (funding) isn’t going to be changed,” district treasurer Autumn Streng said, noting the state of Ohio has not yet set its budget.
Also looming is the closing of the GenOn plant, which is expected to close in April 2015.
May levy likely
After the failure of the the district will need to decide if a May levy is needed, and if so, for how much.
The district is looking at two options for a 10-year levy. Streng said the 10-year option is the result of the power plant shutting down in 2015.
“We don’t want to keep coming back,” she said.
Froehlich said tentatively, the board is looking at two options: A levy that would collect $6.3 million annually, which would result in an approximate 7.95-mill levy or a levy that would collect $6.9 million annually. The second option would result in voters seeing an approximate 8.71-mill levy at the May ballot. Millage would need to be certified by the Lorain County Auditor’s Office.
Streng said a decision would be needed by the end of January, which is why the board will be hosting two more meetings.
Board members stressed that all information presented at the Jan. 8 meeting was preliminary and no votes have been taken on any of the cuts yet.
Board member Ron Jantz said the cuts were likely moving forward regardless of whether a levy was placed on the ballot.